Battle of the Sexes: Do Girls Have It Worse?

Kaitlin Mahar

“Guys have it so easy.” What started out as a jocular discussion, with a friend regarding a less-than-pleasant time of the month, suddenly resulted in a laundry list of complaints against the treatment and characteristics of women; from their bodily functions (which of course cannot be controlled), to the ways in which they are portrayed and behaved towards in our society. This begs the question: do girls really have it that bad?

Clearly, from a biological standpoint, girls have it pretty rough. From periods to pregnancies, girls get the short end of the stick (the nitty-gritty details of which do not need to be hashed out – if you’re truly unaware, you can Google it at your own risk). Guys do not know the pains that come from both, as senior Caleb Johnson, 21, asserts: “Biologically, absolutely [women have it worse]. Women bear children. Guys point at their pregnant wives and smile and say, ‘Hey look what I did!’ Women have periods. Guys don’t even have the slightest clue what that’s like.”

After all, only girls know the pains of having to deal with bras, underwear, birth control, and that seven letter word: tampons. This doesn’t just include physical pains, but also major pains in one’s wallet – at Victoria’s Secret, for example, bras cost $29.95 and up; underwear starts at $8.50 per pair. Assuming you need three to four of each, that already totals $115-$150, minimum. Add in various pharmaceuticals, from Midol to birth control, to tampons, and you’ve got another $37-$72 per month. As far as guys’ underwear goes- a pack of Calvin Klein underwear of various styles ranges from $13-$42.50.

But, as mentioned before, this isn’t just a biological issue; women are treated considerably worse than men in society. According to the Huffington Post, women are paid only $0.77 for every $1 men are paid for doing the same job, and according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 7.6% of women receive promotions at work in comparison to 10.6% of men who receive promotions. Sophomore Elissa Sanci, 19, notes the irony: “It’s expensive to be a girl, [and] we don’t even get paid enough to live the life we didn’t pick.”

While this is bad enough, women still have more challenges to face at work, as well as at school and social events. This includes sexism, sexual harassment, and even rape.

In a 2011 poll conducted by ABC News/Washington Post, one in four women reported sexual harassment in the workplace. According to Vassar’s Sexual Assault Violence Prevention page, one in four female college students surveyed were victims of rape or attempted rape, and 27% of women have experienced a rape or attempted rape since the age of 14. Many women think that while men may experience these issues, there is less of a chance that they will be sexually harassed or worse because they are men. Junior Mike Tinghitella, 20, says, “That [way of thinking] is very true, though guys will not admit to sexual harassment or rape because of embarrassment. Not all rape and sexual harassment victims are female.”

While it is true that not all victims are female, Sanci disagrees. “No… guys won’t ever own up to [being raped], but I do think women are subject to the violence way more often than men are, and women are more susceptible to rape.” This is true; women are categorized as being weak and feeble, and frequently are considered to be “asking for it” based on how they dress. These facets therefore make them seem more vulnerable, making them more distinct targets for rape and sexual assault.

Furthermore, women have more to worry about in society; makeup, hairstyles, clothing while overall beauty trends are constantly changing, and failure to adhere to these specifications, will result in the dreaded failure of fitting into the societal mold put in place for women.

“This is [partially] thanks to media. If girls don’t look a certain way, act a certain way, or do certain things, they aren’t accepted in society and are judged harshly,” says junior Katelyn Clark, 20. “Guys do have some of that, but not half as bad as girls… The social norm for guys is so much more casual and easy than it is for girls.”

Even if people began making changes and treating women better immediately, it would still take a significant amount of work and time to make things equal between men and women. Johnson notes: “It would only take a few generations to change [the issues women face], if both men and women, mostly men, would start looking at things differently. The whole ‘Cool story babe, now make me a sandwich’ attitude? That needs to go if we want to see real equality.”